Archery hunting on rise – and it’s no surprise

Archery hunting in Pennsylvania is bucking the trend.

While the sales of general hunting licenses continue to dip at a rate of approximately 10 percent in the last decade, the sales of archery licenses is on the rise.

Surprised? We shouldn’t be.

In 2016, the Pennsylvania Game Commission sold 612,000 licenses. Of those hunters, 327,000 purchased an archery stamp as well – or about 53 percent of hunters.

What’s the big deal?

Compared to 10 years prior in 2006, those numbers looked 681,000 and 256,000 – or about 37 percent.

The PGC has done a tremendous job with recognizing the popularity in archery hunting – invited the use of crossbows, implemented antler restrictions over a decade ago and has created a program where archery hunters can have a fair chance at tagging an animal.

In a time where state-run organizations can frustrate many, the PGC has done its homework. Here are some of the changes I think have made a difference.

1. Bear hunting. In recent years the PGC has implemented a bear archery season. At one time it trailed at the end of the deer archery season, but now overlaps together as one on Oct. 29 through Nov. 3. This week allows hunters with a bear tag to hunt both deer and bear at the same time. It’s a brilliant change by the PGC.

2. Antler restrictions. Once thought by some to be a terrible change, the three-point rule in much of the state has changed the possibilities of tagging larger and mature deer.

3. Crossbows. Another change with came with pushback – and some people still feel crossbows should not be permitted – but it’s clear through sales that crossbows have opened avenues to the field for many with disabilities or age limitations.

4. Veterans Day. Permitting hunting on the final Monday allows some hunters an opportunity time in the woods they would not normally get in years past. Another good move by the PGC.

5. Cost. A resident archery tag costs $16.90. That’s about the price of a pizza. It’s hard to complain given the amount of time allotted for hunters to head to the field in pursuit of their favorite animal to hunt.

The popularity of archery hunting continues to rise in Pennsylvania and there are plenty of good reasons why.








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